The Wolverine

2014 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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78 ■ THE WOLVERINE 2014 FOOTBALL PREVIEW BY JOHN BORTON M ichigan made the big change in the offseason, after featuring a wildly inconsistent offense in 2013. The Wolverines went from record setting to missing in action at times, and that performance ultimately produced a major revamp. Doug Nussmeier took the controls as offensive coordinator last winter, and he brings a high-energy, demanding, attention- to-detail approach to seeing the Wolverines advance. He won't dwell on the past, and there isn't any reason to do so — he wants Michigan moving forward on offense, at all times. Nussmeier comes from an Alabama program that has everything in high gear, including an offense that helped the Crimson Tide to a national title two years ago. While the Wolverines may not be at that point, personnel- or experience-wise, Nussmeier's crew will be looking to raise some eyebrows come fall. The Wolverine: What were your first impressions of the raw material you inherited on offense? Nussmeier: "This is a young football team. I didn't realize how young the team was. I believe it's 76 freshmen and sophomores on our roster. You look at the composition of the team, and there are only 12 seniors. That was the first thing that really stood out to me." The Wolverine: What did you achieve in the spring with this offense? Nussmeier: "We hopefully started to establish an identity of who we want to be. They say if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything. "We're trying to get our guys to understand the things that hindered us from being more successful last season, and the vision we want to create moving into the future. We know how we need to get better. "We started with the fact that we need to eliminate lost-yardage plays. Whether it be lost-yardage runs in the running game, or sacks in the passing game. Everybody plays a factor in all of those. "It's the understanding that we can't function that way. You can't function in second-and-15, second-and-17. Those are bad down-and-distances, and we're trying to make our offensive football team more situationally aware, in order to make them know what we have to do to accomplish our goal of scoring points." The Wolverine: What can you, as an offensive coordinator, do to play to the strengths of the offensive line and perhaps minimize its deficiencies? Nussmeier: "Two things. First off, you're talking about youth, and the youth we had up there playing, the combinations of players. There is so much verbal communication that goes on, both pre-snap and post-snap, and also non-verbal communication. "If you look at the good fronts in football, usually they're a group of guys that has played together often. We had a lot of moving pieces there last season. Hopefully, we can establish a group of guys that can play together week in and week out, so they OFFENSE Q&A THE NEW DEAL Offensive Coordinator Doug Nussmeier Insists On Not Taking Steps Back Nussmeier cited winning the turnover battle and creating explosive plays (runs that are more than 12 yards or passes that are more than 16 yards) as two key statistical components for a successful offense. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN 78-80.Offense Q&A.indd 78 6/18/14 3:56 PM

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